Epigenetic induction of epithelial to mesenchymal transition by LCN2 mediates metastasis and tumorigenesis, which is abrogated by NF-κB inhibitor BRM270 in a xenograft model of lung adenocarcinoma

Int J Oncol. 2016 Jan;48(1):84-98. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2015.3245. Epub 2015 Nov 13.


Tumor initiating cancer stem-like cells (TICSCs) have recently become the object of intensive study. Human-Lipocalin-2 (hLCN2) acts as a biomarker for cancers. The aim of the present study was to explore new insights regarding the potential role of LCN2 in inducing epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) by transfecting LCN2 into CD133+-A549-TICSCs and its cross-talk with the NF-κB signaling pathway in adenocarcinoma of the lung. Furthermore, EMT was confirmed by transcriptomic analysis, immunoblotting and immunocyto/histochemical analyses. Tumorigenesis and metastasis were confirmed by molecular therapeutics tracer 2DG infrared optical probe in BALB/cSIc-nude mice. It was observed that the CD133+-expressing-LCN2-A549 TICSCs population increased in adenocarcinoma of the lung compared to the normal lung tissue. The expressions of genes involved in stemness, adhesion, motility and drug efflux was higher in these cells than in their non-LCN2 expressing counterparts. The present study revealed that elevated expression of LCN2 significantly induced metastasis via EMT. Overexpression of LCN2 significantly increased stemness and tumor metastasis by modulating NF-κB cellular signaling. BRM270, a novel inhibitor of NF-κB plays a significant role in the EMT reversal. BRM270, a naturaceutical induces cell shrinkage, karyorrhexis and programmed cell death (PCD) which were observed by Hoechst 33342 staining while flow cytometry analysis showed significant (P<0.05) decrease in cell population from G0-G1 phases. Also, 2DG guided in vivo model revealed that BRRM270 significantly (P<0.0003) reduced tumor metastasis and increased percent survival in real-time with complete resection. An elaborate study on the novel concept with respect to linking of naturaceutics as selective and potential anticancer agent that eliminates the elevated LCN2 induced EMT and tumor dissemination through cooperation with the NF-κB signaling as the baseline data for the planning of new therapeutic strategies was conducted for the first time. Our results also illustrate a molecular mechanistic approach for 2DG-guided molecular imaging-based cancer therapy using BRM270 as a novel cancer therapeutic drug to enhance the effect of doxorubicin (Dox)-resistant LCN2 induced metastasis of solid tumors in nude mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute-Phase Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Acute-Phase Proteins / genetics*
  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma of Lung
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Carcinogenesis / genetics*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / administration & dosage
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / genetics
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Lipocalin-2
  • Lipocalins / biosynthesis
  • Lipocalins / genetics*
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Mice
  • NF-kappa B / genetics
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics*
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Acute-Phase Proteins
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Jiedu Xiaozheng Yin
  • LCN2 protein, human
  • Lipocalin-2
  • Lipocalins
  • NF-kappa B
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Doxorubicin